Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race Sets Sail Friday, April 23

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Boats in the 72nd annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race.
— Photo by Jim Collins ©

Last year, the pandemic sank the annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, but this year’s race is officially afloat.

Nearly 170 boats are scheduled to participate in the 73rd Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race on Friday, April 23.

Nearly 120 boats will set sail from the Balboa Pier Friday morning around 10 a.m. to make the 125-mile trek to Ensenada. Another 20 boats will take the sprint course to Dana Point, and 40 will head around the Coronado Islands on the extended San Diego course.

According to information from the Newport to Ensenada officials, the reduction of COVID restrictions and assistance from the Mexican Navy to help with arriving yachts means sailors will safely be able to disembark and enjoy Ensenada.

According to race organizers, the Disney Family’s latest incarnation of Pyewacket, a Volvo 70, will make its N2E debut. After smashing the elapsed time record in Newport Harbor Yacht Club’s “Newport to Cabo San Lucas Race” last month, the crew will be looking to put another notch on its keel.

Newport to Ensenada – photo by Lawrence Sherwin

Among the other boats entered in the race this year:

  • Damon Guizot’s Zephyrus (a Reichel Pugh 77 and the 2018 winner of the Lahaina Yacht Club Trophy for Best Elapsed Time).
  • Compadres, owned by Compadres LLC, a modified Andrews 77 with a storied N2E history as Alchemy 77.
  • The Richley Family’s 39-year-old Choate 48 Amante, a multiple-time trophy-winner, that has only missed three N2E races.
  • Jerry Fiat, who made waves in 2019 by entering the first-ever AC45 (an Oracle America’s Cup practice boat) has entered Taniwha, a Farrier 32 SRX (folding) trimaran. The New Zealand-built boat previously sailed N2E finishing in under 10 hours after being waylaid by a whale.
  • Renowned sailor, yacht designer, and industry influencer Pete Melvin will sail with Fiat. Melvin’s 30-foot multihull Mama Tried won first place in the ORCA Class, for best corrected time for a trimaran and the coveted Tommy Bahama Trophy for the best overall corrected time in 2014.
Boats in the 72nd annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race.
— Photo by Jim Collins ©

Last year, race organizers, the Newport Ocean Racing Association, made the decision to cancel the race for the first time in its history due to the pandemic and out of an abundance of caution for the organization’s volunteers. Last October, NOSA announced its commitment to holding the 2021 race.

As restrictions have been lifted, options for social activities have increased. The annual Yachtsmen’s Luncheon and pre-race dinner at Bahian Corinthian Yacht Club are being held.

Plans for Sunday’s trophy ceremonies at the festive Hotel Coral and Marina are still being determined pending the number of revelers and in coordination with the host city’s guidelines.

First run in 1948, the N2E has a storied history of mixing professional racers, celebrities, and recreational sailors to become a time-honored event for the city of Newport Beach, the City of Ensenada, and sailing enthusiasts who come from across the country to compete. In recent years, great winds have tested and challenged the skills of crews, many of whom only sail overnight on this race. Orion, a MOD70, holds the record for fastest elapsed time on the 125-NM course at 5:17:26.

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